Up up and away

So we started playing the Justice Squad campaign this weekend. Lots of fun. Here’s my personal good/bad/ugly list.
Good
– I’ve never been in a game GM’d by Dave, whom I’ve heard only good things of. No surprise, his style is different than mine, but great fun for everyone, and I always enjoy watching other people work and taking mental notes.
– Supers. It’s just fun. Maybe it’s not Star Wars, but I’m not PLAYING Star Wars, am I? One of the really long-running and fun games I played in in college was a Champions supers game, and I just love the feel of calculating knockback on a hex map. Whee.
– Rules. I’m pissy about BESM most of the time, but I worked my ass off on figuring out a workable version until SAS (supers from goo) comes out, and it seems to be working.

Bad
– I can’t min/max a character they way I could in Champions (nor to I want to anymore), but I know the rules better than probably anyone else playing (for now). While the characters themselves are all very cool concepts and built on the same points, there was a certain feeling disparity between them, simply because of design efficiency. This isn’t to say we don’t all have a few points ‘wasted’ on things like Painting or Horseback riding, but after the play-test and redesign, I felt like the character’s I designed were a little overwhelming.
(Offside of this: I’m also helping Dave by statting out some bad guy NPC’s — so I guess I’ll reap what I’ve sown in the long run.)
All in all, really fun though, and I’m looking forward to the next installment a great deal.

Game tonight

Session … not sure what number… sixth? The group just levelled up to 3rd. Rey can’t make it, so I think the scenario I was working on might have to wait a bit.
Which means… NO idea what’s going on tonight. There is one possibility, I suppose.
I’ll end up running Kashyyk (sp?) in Flames, which I’d pretty much decided not to run, but I didn’t want to get into a new major arc with player’s missing. This is going to be a problem for the next couple weeks, I think, since Dave G’s going to miss a ton of the next couple games, and Ghenghis Con is coming up in 3 weekends. Mess.
KiF ended up taking longer than I figured (I started the session with a big party, so we didn’t have the whole night for the module, but I had fun with the party, and I think most other people did as well.
The fact that KiF will take another session to play through is fine, though. The same people will probably miss it next time, which works, and we’ll be able to wrap it up and be ready for the bigger story to start up after GC.

Proper Care and Feeding of your young Geek

This Saturday, I ran a little one-shot for Jackie, Justin and the Hill-Kleerups. Justin was playing his ubiquitous halfling thief, and was scouting ahead.
This has become a wonderful tool for working on communication skills with the Boy (which he doesn’t realize). I describe to him what is in the room, using the ‘normal’ boxed text. Everyone else is sitting at the table, but they aren’t ‘there’, so he must then turn around and tell everyone else what he just saw, reinterpreting and retelling as best he can. It’s an excellent little trick, and one of the reasons that I use prepackaged modules for these one-offs, since I’m more likely to hit some new words for him to learn.
Aside from his use of the word “passage” instead of “hallway” or “tunnel” at one point (which illustrates how the gaming’s helped his vocabulary), there was this exchange:
Him: Okay, the next room is really big, with big piles of garbage in it, and there’s rats crawling all over the garbage. Someone put out box-trap things to catch them, and I saw some guys come in and collect the trapped rats and then leave.
Jackie: Where?
Him: No, they were just regular rats.
We’re warping him.

Game Tonight

Game tonight. I got Nothing.
Addendum: Dave sent me something funny to cheer me up.
pvp20010807.gif
Comments on the game and thoughts on the storyline: tonight I’m using a module out of Star Wars Gamer: “Welcome to the Jungle.” I don’t mind using packaged modules, and this one was interesting enough, once I got through the lack of background info… there was a LOT of that missing.
I’ve been twisting these pregens around to make them fit, and it’s worked out so far — WTTJ is basically babysitting a diplomat, whom I’ve made an old friend of the Senator, and I’ll be doing something similar with Kashyyk in Flames after this one.
Still, the first session we played of WttJ was a mess, simply because I hadn’t prepped it well enough, and it required more work than most. Second session (two weeks after this post), explained more and concluded the story to my satisfaction.

Mucho Gaming

We went to WiCoU this weekend. ALL of us, for once. Jackie enjoyed herself a great deal with the GM’s she had, and we got to play at the same tables, AS PLAYERS, all day — it was great.
Justin played a double slot at an all-kids table and had a great time, then got to play a couple hours of Diablo while we gamed. He even won his table for the RPGA votes, which is cool.
Still… it was… sheesh, something like 15 hours of straight DnD — that’s a lot of math. Jack and I both advanced our personal character projects and fought the good fight. No one got killed. Lots of fun.
Must go sleep now.

Friday

Game this Friday will be the DnD campaign. Margie can’t make it, but Robert’s wife can. Normally, I’d be against adding a seventh player, but I have ulterior motives — if I can get his wife psyched about the game, then maybe we’ll be able to introduce a little flexibility in Robert’s game schedule — right now, we can only play on Friday nights, which aren’t always optimal.
Also, hey, it’s always good to meet more people.

This week

No games this weekend. Next weekend is WiCoU, which I plan to be playing in, not running. Good for me. Getting the registrations done this weekend.
Also need to get my Ghenghis registration worked out, because Rey needs a couple Amber game slots on the board. Need to find out when my openings are.

Wishlist:

– Oriental Adventures
– Farscape RPG (or even frigging info on when it comes out)
– Tome and Blood sourcebook
– Silence and Song sourcebook
All of the WEG modules converted to d20.

Game Log 3 — Down Below

Third game session last night, another one of the sessions I’ll refer to as “Establishing Shots”, to use a movie term.
First Session was meant to get the group working together and get them their ship, also introduce a few little nuances of the system that become sort of important later (ship proficiencies, for example).
Second Session establishes that Antilles doesn’t always tell them everything, or tell them the truth, although they are, generally, on the side of the angels, nonetheless (if the assumption is that the Prince is on the side to begin with.)
This one, Down Below, sent the group into the bowels of Coruscant the city-planet (their home), and I got to give them a slice of the things that go on beneath the upper crust of the planet. Gammoreans and force users rooting around in abandoned structures that shouldn’t have any working mechanics and yet somehow do. They visited the squatter-city of Down Below and met a few of the inhabitants, learning that there are some decent people there (might be interesting if something comes of that), and I think the expectation is that they might have to go back later. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if they did; some more familiarity down there might give them a place to run if needs be.
Next time, I’ve said we’re going to be dealing with the Senate.
Summary, by session:
– Session One favored the Scout/Pilot immensely, since everyone else was at a disadvantage while shipboard.
– Session Two … well, I’m not sure that favored anyone.
– Session Three definately favored the more military and sneaky types, although Juli’s nobel is doing pretty darn well in combats and whatnot (he’s taken out… two Gammoreans in hand-to-hand thus far into the campaign.)
Next session will favor the guys with diplomacy, gather info, sense motive, useful language skills, and so forth. There /shouldn’t/ be a lot of combat, maybe any, but that’s the way it is in the Senate.
Having finished that episode up, I think I’ll have all the establishing shots done, and can continue a bit more into the main story arc. The nice thing is that so far I’ve managed to drop some foreshadowing into every session, although it’s not likely that anyone has recognized it as such.

OGL stuff

These guys want me to do some work with them, prompted by Hocus Pocus, Mumbo Jumbo (which I wrote for BESM in the 1st Edition days).
Surprised. Complimented. The site is nice, and the idea and plan is a good one. I’m intrigued.
That said, I’m not taking on any more projects until I finish the NaNoWriMo, but this place looks pretty interesting (haven’t checked out the rules they’ve written already, though, so…).
Anyway, gamers of the world who read this page (a six of you) — might wanna check them out.

Rock Star (like Meatloaf)

You know that maxim that the camera adds 10 pounds?
Well apparently the internet turns you into an emaciated bookworm (at least if you let it). Curious about my logic? Read on.
So I went to AmberCon Northwest this year. This was going to be a big deal in the way of meeting people, since many of the folks involved were folks with whom I have been conversing via email, off an on, for years – literally. I believe it would have been somewhere around mid-95 when I joined the Amber mailing list (back BEFORE it was amber@logrus.org).
Bolthy, Epoch, Chris, Kristen, Simone, and of course local folks like Meera and Kingsley — like most geeks, I’ve actually met people in real life whom I’ve met first on the internet, but those were all one-on-one situations — this would be the first time I was meeting a large population of My Personal Internet ™.
The concensus. I’m a lot bigger guy than… everyone… expected. Some people found this really startling. It was starting to give me a complex.
If, like Jon said, I’m a rock star, it appears I’m someone like Elvis in the later years.

Urg

I haven’t put an entry in here for so long that MT has removed all my other entries — too old. So here’s the Halloween update.
I’m leaving for Portland tomorrow for Amber Con North West (ACNW). The con runs 3.5 days, and while I participate in a con or gameday almost every month, this will be my first AmberCon. I’m fairly excited.
Fairly.
Jackie has been wondering why I haven’t been more psyched. Here’s a few reasons why most people might get excited and why I’m not.
– I’m going to be staying with Jon. This should be fun. Should. I haven’t seen Jon in 5 years, however, so who knows. Maybe it’ll be awkward as hell. On the right hand, I’m really glad not to be shelling out another couple hundred bucks on a hotel room, on the left, I sort of feel as though I’m missing out on some of the ambiance of the con by not rooming where everyone else is. The coordinator is local to Portland, and even she is staying out there.
– I’m going to be going to Con. Big Deal. I go to Cons all the time. I GM weekly, and when I’m not running something, I’m thinking about running something, so I don’t fit the profile for the typical Amber Gamer — most of these guys are not in regular games, and this con is one of thier big chances to hang out with people who share thier interests, and like the same game they do — ADRPG is a fringe community within a Fringe community, as such… not a big following. In Denver, with the active RPGA membership, Cons are monthy, normal, dare-I-say boring events. At least boring in the fact that they are happening. So I’m not psyched just because of the con.
– Meeting new people. That’s great, unless I don’t gel with the group of people out there. Might happen, might not. I’m not short of friends, and unlike some, I don’t think that adding to the list is something one needs to work on day in and day out for your whole likfe. I’m comfortable with my current list of friends, and I’m not counting on AmberCon to help me out in this regard.
– Get to Travel. BFD. I do that all the time. It’s not exciting, it’s just work. Ditto staying in a strange bed, eating strange food, in a strange town — all these are things that I associate with work, not play.
All that said, I am excited as much as possible, and I’m sure I’ll be even more psyched once I get there and start meeting people and playing. Here’s my schedule:
Arrive Portland, 2:40pm PCT, Thursday.
Reception — Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Slot 1 — Thursday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Castle of Crossed Destinies)
Slot 2 — Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Christmas in Amber)
Slot 3 — Friday, 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (All Cats Are Kings (Meera is using Swift to run this!))
Slot 4 — Friday, 8 p.m. – midnight (A Comfy Nights Stay at the Happy Crossroads Inn)
Saturday: nothing going on until…
Slot 6 — Saturday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Skeletons in the Closet)
Slot 7 — Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (eXcessive Force: The Tentacle Files — this is supposed to end at around 2pm instead — I need to make a character up for this one, still)
Depart Portland, 6:30am (!!) PCT, Monday
These are the times when Jackie is glad to have the 85 lbs. Great Dane/Lab roaming the house. I’ve seen him pick out intruders… it’s imposing.
The main slot on Saturday was going to be where I would run a game, but I signed up late, so I didn’t get enough people signed up, so I’m open. There’s a guy I know in Portland who wanted to get together for lunch, but other than that, I’ve got nothing going on (other than needing to write some stuff for NaNoWriMo.)
The Sunday slot usually breaks up and ends up dissolving into a socialization event at the Inn’s bar — I’m down with that, since my flight doesn’t leave til the next day.

Cool

Added a new Shapeshifter class to the d20 Amber Basic Character Classes. I really like how that guy turned out. Also, tweaked ranger and got rid of Druid.
Things still to do:

  • I figured out the rules for making Trumps (needs more detail), but not the rules on how to use them. Extension of this: mental combat.
  • I need to fiddle with the age brackets for chargen. Realized it’s not quite right yet (following some testing).

Addendum: Just doubled the size of the Feats section, adding a bunch of “Background” feats, as well as things like Improved Familiar and Heroic Recovery (A.K.A. “Cockroach”).

d20

Updates to the Amber d20 pages. Specifically, did some work on the character classes, notably Ranger. Started the painful process of eliminating non-genre spells from the Magic section. Finished the Feats and skills for Logrus (Probably won’t do the non-canon powers for a long while, especially since my favorite power (Twilight) can be done more easily with the Prestige class Shadowdancer).
Did a bunch of reformatting in the skills, feats, and power skills section, and reeditted the equipment section.
Also, slowly replacing the term Gold Piece with Game Point (thus abstracting money).

Weekend

This weekend is fraught with gamer peril. I’m taking part in a local con, playing Living Greyhawk on Friday night, GMing Living Force all day Saturday, and playing a 2-part Living Greyhawk on Sunday.
I am, oddly, not all the psyched about it. I’m tired of going to these things alone. I really just want my wife to come and participate with me, at least as much as she can (she still has homework to do), but the slots are all booked up, and there’s just no way to get her in unless I create a slot by not playing myself, which defeats the purpose.
The real gizzard-kicker: she WANTS to go, and believes she’ll have time — I didn’t know, so I didn’t make the appropriate reservations, and now I’m out in the cold. Rather, she is. We both are. Sucks.

Hmmm…

I just found my free round-trip flight voucher that expires at the end of the year, and tonight is the last official deadline day to register for AmberCon Northwest.
Hmmm…
I need to rattle Simone’s cage and see if there’s still room.

Blast It!

(but for how much damage?)
I’m really close to a new version of Swift, but I’m hung up on how to handle the sustaining of damage in a way that’s both reliable and not over-detailed. Right now, it’s not quite where I want it.
Also, I need to do something in the way of scale, I think. Maybe. I’m pondering a simple two-page add-on for vehicle rules.
Addendum: wrestled around with this most of yesterday and finally got something I think is clean enough, and which factors in all the things I think are important.

Star Wars, Session 2

The second session was sort of spread out over an abortive attempt to get something going on 15th, and a ‘real’ session on the 21st of September
All in all it went well. Robert joined us, and Dave G has a revised Jedi character using the new rules I’ve adapted. (I’ll post a link to the original rules at swrpg.net sometime soon, but I feel that many of the prestige class design choices and requirements are deeply flawed, and as such I think it’s worth something as a starting point, and not much as a final product).
The module was… decent. Horribly arranged and badly documented, but there was a couple of interesting things in it. I rewrote the beginning and end of it to show the players that even Antilles will play them in order to get what he wants, and leave them in the dark if it suits them. His intentions may be good, but the end result is the same: the characters are pawns.
This is just the sort of message I was hoping to get across.
This was also the first session I had the scroll code set up to run. I like it a lot, and I hope to eventually meld in an MP3 of the theme music to the html… the timing on it right now is good enough to time it with the stereo.

Star Wars, Session 1

Okay, I don’t remember when we ran the first session… would have had to have been about… let’s say 9/7.
Things went all right. I’ve been digging through all of my old and news Star Wars stuff to see what sort of things I could find that would convert into the era that I wanted. There’s some stuff written for the Rise of Empire, sure, but the problem is that most of it takes place out on the Fringe, which is of no use to me, since I’m doing stuff in the Core Worlds. I need intrigue, etc.
So, first session was a rescue mission to pick up some people who are bringing intelligence back from the Free Trade zone to Antilles. This “intelligence” works really well, since I can work any sort of major revelation into the storyline later in the game and say “you remember that datachip that guy had WAY back in Session One? Well, this is what was on it.” — Then my players can ooh and ahh at the complexity and depth of my plotting, and be amazed that I knew what was going to be happening to them that far in advance.
Love it. That was the good part. Also, worked out a fun way to get a ship to the group, and give it enough quirks that the players really got into it. The thing was used, and used by Ishi Tiib, so there are many fish-jokes going around, and comments about the thing smelling like a wharf, etc. Really got everyone into it. Shot the shit out of the ship, too, which is pretty classic.
Downside — only Rey was geared up for Space Adventure — everyone else pretty much sucks on ice when it comes to running the ship, so that made things not nearly as fun for a few people. Can’t be helped — at least people will be motivated to improve now that they’ve seen that they can suck.
In my experience, one of the the real fun parts of Star Wars games is wanting stuff — there’s a cool toy, or a cool modification to do to your ship, or something you need to fix, or a rare crystal you need for your lightsaber… or something — even if nothing is happening in the plot, you’ve still got things to work on.
So, now people want to fix up the ship. At least one guy wants to get the Startship Transports Feat, and other people want better (and no so fishy smelling) gear. Very cool.

Star Wars, Prince of Alderaan, Beginning

Lovely.
Actually, this is cool. I tried to do something like this about 3 years back with TiHE, and I couldn’t keep it updated properly after about the 19th session, because it was just too much of a pain in the ass. This should be a cakewalk.
Kay. SO. Standard disclaimer: PLAYERS — if you don’t want to know what I’m really think about how the campaign, the session, or your particular character’s storyline is working out, then DON’T READ STUFF WITH “STAR WARS CAMPAIGN” in the title.
Thanks.